The best centers in college basketball
Beautiful post play has become a lost art form at the professional level, but that's not the case in the NCAA, where you're apt to see a bevy of talented posts patrolling the lane on a nightly basis. Here are the five best centers in college basketball.
5. Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
This seven-foot sophomore is the perfect complementary piece to Ayo Dosunmu. When the All-American guard’s shot falls short, Cockburn is there to clean up the mess. The Fighting Illini’s dynamic duo is the best tandem in the Big Ten.
It’s a small sample size, but in the first few weeks of the season Cockburn has already shown that he can become more efficient offensively. His field goal percentage is up 15% and he’s on the fringe of averaging a double-double. Mark your calendar for Friday Jan. 29 when Illinois hosts Iowa.
4. Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia)
The best big man in the Big 12, Tshiebwe was West Virginia’s leading scorer a year ago and was 0.7 boards away from averaging a double-double. He also led the Mountaineers in field goal percentage and blocked shots. Unlike his freshman season, this year there will be a bullseye on Tshiebwe’s back. It’s crucial that he remains out of foul trouble and on the floor to ensure his team’s success.
Oscar Tshiebwe is such a luxury for guards on defense as his movement erases mistakes quickly. Watch how Oscar backpedals to cut off the drive while keeping a hand on the roller. Despite the deuce mistake, there was never anything open: pic.twitter.com/hxfADfedlM— Ben Pfeifer (@Ben_Pfeifer_) November 27, 2020
3. Garrison Brooks (North Carolina)
The Tar Heels’ suffered their worst season under Roy Williams a year ago. The results will not be replicated thanks to Brooks. The senior will provide a steady hand in the front court, providing reliable production night in and night out.
A thick 6'10" post, once Brooks has an opponent on his hip, it’s an easy bucket for North Carolina. He's crafty enough to consistently score in double figures all year long.
2. Drew Timme (Gonzaga)
Timme did not get much time to shine as a true freshman, playing behind Serbian sensation Filip Petrusev. Once the All-American returned home to play professionally, it opened the door for Timme to become a star for the best team in college basketball.
A 6'10" scorer and excellent passer out of double-teams, Timme has averaged 23.3 points to start the season.
1. Luka Garza (Iowa)
The Iowa center is just stupid good. In a world where everyone wants 7-footers to be "unicorns" that can handle the ball and score facing the basket, Garza is a scoring back-to-the-basket post from a bygone era.
Frankly, I can’t recall the last time college basketball had a big man score at such an incredible rate. In one game this season, Garza scored 41 points in 29 minutes of basketball, making 14-of-15 buckets. One would assume that kind of production cannot be sustained once Iowa reaches the meat of its schedule, but I would not put it past him. Garza is a must-watch every time he takes the hardwood, and that’s why he’s the preseason favorite to win Naismith National Player of the Year honors.